After two days of an incredible and unique recce, Craig Breen and Paul Nagle are ready for one of their biggest ever challenges in their World Rally Championship career.
The Safari Rally gets underway at 10 am on Wednesday morning with the shakedown.
Set to be run over 5.4kms of Kenyan rally tracks in Ndulele Conservancy off the Moi North Lake Road. it will mark the first time that the latest Hybrid-equipped Rally1 cars will set foot on the African continent
After Thursday’s ceremonial start in Nairobi, the crews will tackle a side-by-side Super Special at Kasarani, just outside the city centre.
Kasarani is home to the Kenyan National soccer team’s stadium but also alongside one of the biggest shanty towns in the world.
A seasoned Safari Rally expert reckons one million people will see the opening day’s action in the flesh.
The real rally starts on Friday.
Ahead lie 19 gruelling special stages around Lakes Naivasha and Elmenteita covering 363.44km before Sunday afternoon’s finish in Naivasha.
“It’s an incredible challenge here,” Craig told Kerry Motorsport News. “Obviously it is very rough in places, just the bare tracks like a boreen at home. [The roads] are basically cut out through the landscape and incredibly rocky in places.”
Long straight roads where speeds could top 200kph contrast with rocky rutted tracks that reduce cars to little more than walking pace.
“Some places are very slow twisty and technical and some places there are 1600 metres to two kilometres completely straight where they would run out of bales back home,” he added.
“It’s going to be a challenge and an adventure The Safari Rally is of huge importance for the world championship. It is one of the most famous events.”
The route teems with exotic wildlife including lions, leopards, giraffes, zebras and hippos.
“It is great to be here, great to take it all in,” said Breen shortly after he completed the recce on Tuesday evening.
“It would [the recce]definitely get you in the mood for the Safari. From the recce, we’ve seen all sorts of animals out there. Giraffes, and zebras littered everywhere around the stage. So many incredible landscapes.
Incredible people as well people, it sure is fantastic and a great culture as well.”
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